How to Become an Electrician in Piedmont Alabama
The initial step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is finding an electrician trade school near Piedmont AL. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are so many factors to evaluate. For instance, some prospective students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their residence. After they have identified some that are within commuting range, they will decide on the one with the least expensive tuition. While cost and location are important, they are not the only qualifications that need to be considered. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should help mold your ultimate decision when choosing an electrician trade school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s review a little bit about becoming an electrician and the educational choices that are accessible.
Electrician Degree, Certificate and Diploma Options near Piedmont AL
There are several options to get electrician instruction in a trade or technical school near Piedmont AL. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at certain schools, but are not as common as the first three alternatives. In many cases these programs are made available combined with an apprenticeship program, which are required by most states in order to be licensed or if you would like to earn certification. Following are short descriptions of the 3 most common programs offered.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally provided by Alabama trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They provide a good foundation and are aimed towards students who want to get into an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees take two years to finish and are provided by Alabama junior or community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more extensive education while supplying the foundation that readies students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As previously stated, Bachelor’s Degree programs are available at certain Alabama institutions, but are less favored at 4 years than the other shorter programs. The majority of states require that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and in most cases four years be performed before licensing. Because of that, the majority of students are anxious to begin their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their educational program.
Electrician License and Certification Criteria
Electricians in Piedmont AL can undertake a wide range of duties, such as installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in houses and buildings are up to code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to become licensed in most states or municipalities. The duration of apprenticeship varies by state, but usually about four to five years of prior experience is needed in order to take the licensing exam. The exams usually evaluate electrical theory and general knowledge, along with knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary method for an electrician to identify him or herself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available differ by state and can be earned in many specializations, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases includes three levels of proficiency:
- An experience requirement
- Passing a written exam
- Passing a practical exam
Examples of certifying agencies include the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC) and also the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s important that the electrician tech school that you choose not only provides a solid academic foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any certification and licensing exams that you may be required to take in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Training Classes Online in Piedmont AL
An alternative that you may have contemplated is selecting an online electrician program to earn a degree or a certificate. Although online schools have become more prevalent as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this case they are not totally internet based. Virtually all electrician schools require some attendance on campus to get hands-on practical training. But since the balance of the classes can be attended online, distance learning might be a more accommodating alternative for students that have minimal time for education. And as a bonus numerous online training programs have a reduced tuition cost compared to their on campus alternatives. Commuting expenses from Piedmont AL are also minimized and a portion of the study materials may be available online as well. Each of these advantages can make electrician online tech schools more economical and convenient. And a number are fully accredited, which we will deal with in our questions to ask checklist.
Questions to Ask Electrician Vocational Schools
Now that you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Since there are numerous electrician tech and trade schools in the Piedmont AL region, it’s imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The first 2 that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. If you are interested in earning an degree online, then that needs to be an option that your final school offers. And although all three qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are other factors that must be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research before selecting an electrical tech school.
Accreditation. Many electrician trade schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Piedmont AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states require that the electrician training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It may also indicate that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help Piedmont AL grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous electrician technical programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrician businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with Piedmont AL area electricians or electrical companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the electrical tech you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Piedmont AL electrical company if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Piedmont home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Piedmont AL, confirm that the programs you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Piedmont AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Piedmont AL area.
Piedmont is a city in Calhoun and Cherokee counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. The population was 4,878 at the 2010 census. It is included in the Anniston-Oxford, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. Many surrounding communities are served by the 36272 ZIP code, including Spring Garden, Rock Run, Knighten's Crossroads, and Nance's Creek. The current mayor is Bill Baker, who was chosen by the city council to lead after elected mayor Rick Freeman resigned due to medical issues.
The area now known as Piedmont is a community that began in the early 1840s, located at the crossroads of two early post roads. Major Jacob Forney Dailey of North Carolina came to Alabama in 1848 and bought land in present-day Piedmont. Major Dailey named the area Cross Plains, and an official post office with that name was established on September 22, 1851.
In Reconstruction-era Alabama, an incident at Cross Plains affected race relations and the future of the northeast section of the state for generations as a result of the lynching of William Luke, a northern missionary, and several other men in 1870. In that year, the new northern-owned railroad to connect Washington, D.C. and the North with New Orleans was to have its headquarters near the small northeast Alabama town, at Patona. After the Ku Klux Klan-led lynchings, however, the headquarters was moved, and the town never achieved the dominant position in Calhoun County, with Anniston, founded the next year, achieving that status instead.
Choose the Right Electrical Vocational School near Piedmont AL
Selecting the right electrician training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any electrician training that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Piedmont AL.
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